When South Africa was awarded the 2010 World Cup, many people were sceptical, believing that it wouldn’t be able to overcome many political and economic challenges to host a good tournament. There was even talk of contingency measures and other countries stepping in to take over hosting duties at the last minute. South Africa, on the other hand, proved to be kind hosts, and the event went off without a hitch, save for a few minor problems.
It was a difficult task for a country like South Africa to host the first of the 32 games. Detractors were plenty, with concerns about the crime rate, particularly in the expansive poor neighbourhoods, whether the stadiums would be constructed on time, and if the country should expect a financial bonanza from hosting the world’s most popular sporting event. The crowd was hard at work.
- Sign of Unity
It was critical for all South Africans from all cultures and backgrounds to work together to successfully host an event as large as the FIFA World Cup.
For starters, the World Cup’s official badge displayed a bicycle kick with diverse backdrop colours signifying South Africa’s various cultures and how they all stood together in a symbol of togetherness, optimism, vitality, and enthusiasm.
When South Africa won the bid, Mr Nelson Mandela, also known as Madiba, grabbed the trophy with delight and tears in his eyes, remembering how football made him and his fellow detainees feel alive and triumph throughout their time on Robben Island.
South Africans of many colours and backgrounds were more than willing to work together to make the event a global spectacle to remember.
- Top Class Stadiums
The tournament was held in ten stadiums across the country, five of which were newly constructed at a cost of about $1 billion.
The construction of these new stadiums created a large number of jobs, which benefited the general public in a country plagued by unemployment and inequality.
The Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, and Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit were the five new stadiums.
Furthermore, the Soccer City Stadium, Cape Town Stadium, and Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium were the most-used venues, with each holding eight matches, including the World Cup final at the Soccer City Stadium.
- The Joy Ride
It was a tournament that drew the best players in the world, including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robin Van Persie, Thierry Henry, Miroslav Klose, Steven Gerrard, and Neymar, but ended with Andres Iniesta’s extra-time winner in the final breaking Dutch hearts and securing Spain’s first FIFA World Cup victory.
The tournament’s unique features, such as the loud vuvuzelas, the Jabulani match ball, and tournament mascot Zakumi, were also remembered by fans, who pondered on the wonderful stadiums and host cities that hosted the tournament.
The event drew some of the world’s top musicians, including Shakira, whose tournament song Waka Waka with Freshlyground has been viewed over 2.5 billion times since the tournament began.
John Legend, Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews Band, Black Eyed Peas, K’Naan, Femi Kuti, Hugh Masekela, Angelique Kidjo, and Khaled were among the other artists who performed at the competition.
But it was the game that counted the most when Spain and Holland clashed at Soccer City on July 11, 2010, with the stakes incredibly high as both great football nations sought their first ever FIFA World Cup triumph.
Spain won, ensuring that Johannesburg and South Africa will be forever linked to Spanish football.